ORLANDO, Fla. — University of Central Florida is planning to fire an associate professor who caused an uproar over the summer for reportedly racist comments on social media.
What You Need To Know
- UCF says it spoke to hundreds of students as part of the investigation
- Negy has until January 25 to respond to the notice
UCF officials said the university completed months-long investigation after a series of complaints from current and former students regarding Associated Professor Dr. Charles Negy, who teaches psychology, and his conduct in the classroom. The school sent him notice of intent to terminate his employment on Wednesday.
The investigation sprung from a series of tweets in the wake of the George Floyd protests, notably one in which Negy said: "Black privilege is real: Besides affirm. action, special scholarships and other set asides, being shielded from legitimate criticism is a privilege. But as a group, they're missing out on much needed feedback."
The tweets sparked anger and led to the trending hashtag "#UCFfirehim."
UCF at the time condemned the tweets, and pledged to investigate whether Negy's views translated into discrimination in the classroom, while also affirming his First Amendment rights.
The school said the UCF Office of Institutional Equity spoke with more than 300 people, and reviewed hundreds of documents and audio clips.
UCF says the decision to fire Negy was not based on his comments on Twitter, or any comments made in the classroom that students complained about but were protected by academic freedom.
The school issued a statement Wednesday:
"At UCF, we support the rights of everyone in our campus community to freely express their opinions, even those we do not support. We also value faculty members’ right to academic freedom to present subjects forthrightly and responsibly, even when those discussions involve comments that some might find offensive.
"Faculty and staff members also have a responsibility to not create a hostile or discriminatory environment, which can violate the university’s nondiscrimination policy and code of conduct. The university is committed to a culture of inclusive excellence, and we do not tolerate discrimination against any students or employees."
Per the school's collective bargaining agreement with the faculty union, Negy has until January 25 to provide a written response to the notification, and then a final decision will be made.
Students who spoke with News 13 on Thursday agreed with the decision.
“I think there’s a way to bring up certain topics, but the way that he did just really wasn’t — it wasn’t the right way to do it,” third-year student Bryanna Brooks said.
She said she is for people speaking their minds but draws the line when it's discriminatory or racially insensitive. Still, the news of Negy's likely impending termination shocked her.
"I just didn't think it was going to go through," Brooks said.
Another student, Alex Romero, said, "I think people need to be held accountable for their actions."
Romero said the social media components upset many of her classmates and make UCF look bad.
"People were disgusted," Romero said.
Spectrum News 13 reached out to Negy for comment about his termination, but he declined to comment.